Project of the Month – January 2023

Treemendous house with a difference.

It’s not every day that that you get to work on a house with a 500 year old tree designed in to the interior of the house, but that’s what Mark Smith of MHS Decorations was faced with in this extensive refurbishment and extension project, in this stunning one of a kind property, which took two and a half years to complete.

The clients, bought the house in late 2018 for the purpose of being a family home. The house has  couple of offices for them to work from and a school room, so they can home school their children. The work of an extensive refurbishment and extension soon followed, This took about two and a half years to complete. 

Mark worked with the interior designer on the colour scheme throughout the house and had the colours made up in his choice of products. There was so much natural light coming in through the windows and with the curving in the ceiling around the entrance door and tree, he needed to ensure the finish would look as flat as possible. For this reason, Tikkurila AR2 in a Slaked lime colour, was deemed the best product for the job.  The walls in the hallway, kitchen and lounge area, were painted in Little Green emulsion in French grey, as Mark preferred the coverage and overall finish. 

In the entrance, staircase and kitchen, the wall panels were sprayed to produce a much smoother finish. The panelling was primed using Caparol Halftprimer and then coated with two coats of Caparol PU Matt in French Grey. These products were chosen for their durability, as this was going to be an area of high usage and this is a high scratch resistance product, that is also resistant to the use of household cleaning chemicals. 

The changing room for the swimming pool is multi-functional and has combined use as a utility room and wet entrance to the house on rainy days. This area has tongue and grooved panelling and was painted in Little Green oil based eggshell to provide resistance to water splashes. 

The bedrooms were painted in various shades of green. The Main bedroom was painted in Little Green Aquamarine with the woodwork and wardrobes hand-painted in French Grey. This room also had a feature wall, papered in Designers Guild Kiyosumi.

All spindles on main staircase, handrails in two bedrooms and shelf brackets were made in metal and then coated in Shellac and bronzing powder to create the effect of aged bronze, these were then coated with Osmo Polyx oil. 

Mark said, “Even though this application was time consuming, it was actually quite an enjoyable little project, as was something that you don’t do very often. However, spraying of the main staircase and the final hanging of the wallpaper in the main bedroom was the most enjoyable element of the project”.

There are numerous timber features in the property. The worktops in the bathroom and ensuite were coated in Bona Mega Natural lacquer. The work top on the kitchen island was coated with two coats of gloss Polyvine then three coats of matt Polyvine lacquer.

The windows and front door have been coated in Osmo hardwax oil. The oak flooring and staircase in main bedroom has been coated with three coats of Bona Mega Natural floor lacquer. And as of yet, the outside of the tree has not yet been treated as it is still drying out.

The most challenging parts of this project was getting all of the woodwork including the tongue and groove woodwork completed up to finish before being delivered to site. There were 28 doors in total each door was 2.4mtr high and was solid in construction, which is extremely heavy. There were 450 lengths of tongue and grooved panelling, which had to be primed both sides and painted in three different colours, hand finish, as client did not want them sprayed. This took weeks to complete, and when fitted in place it had to be filled sanded and finished in oil based eggshell. Keeping the straight lines was all done freehand.  Applying a sealer coat on the oak flooring, prior to fitting, also proved to be a very difficult and time consuming project.

Mark said, “The most annoying problem about this job was having to complete the tongue and grooved panelling and all doors before being fitted, only to have to repaint it all again once situated, but this happens when you work on a site with other trades who are still completing their elements of the job”…. “I can honestly say that it was an enjoyable house to work in, The client hardly ever rushed us, as it was more important to have everything completed to a high standard that was acceptable to them. The main bedroom, as well as the tree are my favourite parts of the house. I love the main bedroom, as the handrail is somewhat different and really sets off the room”.

Mark Smith has been in the decorating industry for over 40 years and most of that has been as a self-employed decorator. MHS Decorations cover all of Cambridgeshire and surrounding counties. The majority of the work they undertake is in residential properties, and over 90% of that work is by referrals and repeat clients. Mark offer’s every type of decorating service from wallpapering through to spray finishes.

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If you would like to submit a project to be considered for Project of the Month submit your project using the button below by the 18th of each month we will make our selection. *

* By entering this competition you irrevocably agree that you have obtained the homeowner/ developers permission and furthermore undertake that you indemnify Trade Decorator should this not be true. *


If you have any problems submitting your project please email your project details to us including your name and company name to: admin@trade-decorator.co.uk

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